Family of Maryland Man Struck by State Trooper Files $15 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of Randy Rakes, a 38-year-old Finksburg, Maryland pedestrian who died last year after he was hit by a police cruiser, has filed a $15.8 million wrongful death lawsuit against Trooper Dale Derr, the police officer who was driving the vehicle, and the Maryland State Police. Rakes had been crossing Hwy 140 on November 28, 2006 in Carroll County when the speeding police cruiser hit him.

Rakes’ family says they are outraged that no criminal charges are being filed against Derr, 23, who was driving 83 mph on the shoulder of the road when his car hit Rakes. According to the Frederick County prosecutor’s office, there is not enough evidence to prove that Derr’s speed caused the deadly crash.

An investigation by the Maryland State Police, however, determined that the fatal accident could have been prevented if the trooper was driving closer to the street’s 55 mph speed limit.

Rakes’ family is appealing the decision not to press charges. They are asking Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to intervene and demand that charges be filed against Derr.

This week marks the 1-year-anniversary of Rakes’ pedestrian accident death. His mother led a rally for justice for her son on Monday.


Speeding is one of the major causes of motor vehicle crashes. In 2005, 214 people were killed in Maryland in motor vehicle accidents involving speeding. The faster a car is moving, the greater the chance of a motor vehicle crash occurring.

One out of every three traffic deaths is a result of speeding. While many speeding-related accidents occur on freeways, close to 50% of speeding-related fatalities occur on roads requiring that drivers ride at lower speed limits.

Maryland has a three-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This means that the wrongful death action must be submitted within three years from the date of death.

Financial compensation for your loved one’s death cannot make up for your loss. It can, however, cover funeral or cremation expenses and other costs associated with the death of your loved one. Even if the party responsible for your loved one’s death is not arrested for the death, you can still hold them accountable in civil court through your wrongful death lawsuit.

Family Protesting Lack Of Charges Against Trooper,, November 26, 2007
Family of Man Killed by Police Car Appeals to Governor,, November 14, 2007
Speeding Statistics, Montgomery County, MD

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Maryland Wrongful Death Law

In Maryland and Washington D.C., the wrongful death law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen has represented many families who have lost loved ones in motor vehicle crashes caused by other people’s negligence. Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen today and ask for your free consultation with one of our Washington D.C. or Maryland wrongful death attorneys.

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